Brave Dragons [EPUB]

Brave Dragons [EPUB]
Brave Dragons: A Chinese Basketball Team, an American Coach, and Two Cultures Clashing by Jim Yardley
2012 | EPUB | 6.12MB

The wonderfully original story of a struggling Chinese basketball team and its quixotic, often comical attempt to right its fortunes by copying the American stars of the NBA—a season of cultural misunderstanding that transcends sports and reveals China’s ambivalent relationship with the West.

When the Shanxi Brave Dragons, one of China’s worst professional basketball teams, hired former NBA coach Bob Weiss, the team’s owner, Boss Wang, promised that Weiss would be allowed to Americanize his players by teaching them “advanced basketball culture.” That promise would be broken from the moment Weiss landed in China. Desperate for his team to play like Americans, Wang—a peasant turned steel tycoon—nevertheless refused to allow his players the freedom and individual expression necessary to truly change their games.

Former New York Times Beijing bureau chief Jim Yardley tells the story of the resulting culture clash with sensitivity and a keen comic sensibility. Readers meet the Brave Dragons, a cast of colorful, sometimes heartbreaking oddballs from around the world: the ambitious Chinese assistant coach, Liu Tie, who believes that Chinese players are genetically inferior and can improve only through the repetitious drilling once advocated by ancient kung fu masters; the moody and selfish American import, Bonzi Wells, a former NBA star so unnerved by China that initially he locks himself in his apartment; the Taiwanese point guard, Little Sun, who is demonized by his mainland Chinese coaches; and the other Chinese players, whose lives sometimes seem little different from those of factory workers.

As readers follow the team on a fascinating road trip through modern China—from glamorous Shanghai and bureaucratic Beijing to the booming port city Tianjin and the polluted coal capital of Taiyuan—we see Weiss learn firsthand what so many other foreigners in China have discovered: China changes only when and how it wants to change.

One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine [EPUB]

One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine [EPUB]
One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine by Brendan Reilly
2013 | EPUB | 2.59MB

An epic story told by a unique voice in Ameri­can medicine, One Doctor describes life-changing experiences in the career of a distinguished physi­cian. In riveting first-person prose, Dr. Brendan Reilly takes us to the front lines of medicine today. Whipsawed by daily crises and frustra­tions, Reilly must deal with several daunting challenges simultaneously: the extraordinary patients under his care on the teeming wards of a renowned teaching hospital; the life-threatening illnesses of both of his ninety-year-old parents; and the tragic memory of a cold case from long ago that haunts him still. As Reilly’s patients and their families survive close calls, struggle with heartrending decisions, and confront the limits of medicine’s power to cure, One Doctor lays bare a fragmented, depersonal­ized, business-driven health-care system where real caring is hard to find. Every day, Reilly sees patients who fall through the cracks and suffer harm because they lack one doctor who knows them well and relentlessly advocates for their best interests.

Filled with fascinating characters in New York City and rural New England—people with dark secrets, mysterious illnesses, impos­sible dreams, and many kinds of courage—One Doctor tells their stories with sensitivity and empathy, reminding us of professional values once held dear by all physicians. But medicine has changed enormously during Reilly’s career, for both better and worse, and One Doctor is a cautionary tale about those changes. It is also a hopeful, inspiring account of medicine’s poten­tial to improve people’s lives, Reilly’s quest to understand the “truth” about doctoring, and a moving testament to the difference one doctor can make.

Bugs Up Close [EPUB]

Bugs Up Close [EPUB]
Bugs Up Close: A Magnified Look at the Incredible World of Insects by Lars-Åke Janzon, John Hallmén
2014 | EPUB | 32.22MB

Take a close-up look into a world you’ve never noticed.

Bugs are usually so small that we hardly notice them, let alone think of them as living beings. But call upon the magnifying glass, and a shapeless jumble of legs, wings, and antennae suddenly start staring back at us.

About 80 percent of the Earth’s animals are insects. While there are millions of different species, we rarely see many of them . . . until now. Thanks to the photography of John Hallmén, who took a camera and magnified these magnificent creatures one hundred times, we can see what we’ve never been able to see before.

Bugs Up Close takes readers on a journey into a world rarely seen, with incredible photographs of such insects as:

  • Crane flies
  • Yellow meadow ants
  • Black fungus beetles
  • Treehoppers
  • And many more!

The diversity of this insect civilization is striking and unknown to most. An insect we may never have thought twice about now looks like a creature from outer space. Fascinating and somewhat monstrous details such as compound eyes, antennae, and sharp mouth parts are visible, and with text by Lars-Åke Janzon, Bugs Up Close is an amazing close look into the strange and beautiful world of insects.

It's Raining Fish and Spiders [EPUB]

It's Raining Fish and Spiders [EPUB]
It's Raining Fish and Spiders by Bill Evans
2012 | EPUB | 14.57MB

One of the things Bill Evans enjoys the most is talking to young people about weather. Middle-schoolers in particular, Evans says, are deeply interested in the natural world and in weather.

It’s Raining Fish and Spiders covers everything, from tornadoes and hurricanes to lightning and the different kinds of snowflakes. Evans addresses weather myths and facts, from “Can it really rain fish?” to “Will opening a window save my house during a tornado?”

Evans also tells his most exciting personal weather stories: flying with the Hurricane Hunters, riding pell-mell through Tornado Alley with storm chasers, and visiting the coldest place on Earth. The book includes simple weather experiments that can be performed at home without expensive equipment.

Extensively researched, fact-filled, and packed with charts, tables, illustrations, and amazing photographs, It’s Raining Fish and Spiders is an entertaining and educational addition to the library of anyone interested in weather, science, and the natural world.

The People's Republic of Chemicals [EPUB]

The People's Republic of Chemicals [EPUB]
The People's Republic of Chemicals by William J Kelly, Chip Jacobs
2014 | EPUB | 0.7MB

Maverick environmental writers William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs follow up their acclaimed Smogtown with a provocative examination of China’s ecological calamity already imperling a warming planet. Toxic smog most people figured was obsolete needlessly kills as many as died in the 9/11 attacks every day, while sometimes Grand Canyon-sized drifts of industrial particles aloft on the winds rain down ozone and waterway-poisoning mercury in America.

In vivid, gonzo prose blending first-person reportage with exhaustive research and a sense of karma, Kelly and Jacobs describe China’s ancient love affair with coal, Bill Clinton’s blunders cutting free-trade deals enabling the U.S. to "export" manufacturing emissions to Asia in a shift that pilloried the West's middle class, Communist Party manipulation of eco-statistics, the horror of cancer villages, the deception of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and spellbinding peasant revolts against cancer-spreading plants involving thousands in mostly-censored melées. Ending with China’s monumental coal-bases decried by climatologists as a global warming dagger, The People's Republic of Chemicals names names and emphasizes humanity over bloodless statistics in a classic sure to ruffle feathers as an indictment of money as the real green that not even Al Gore can deny.

Cities of Empire [EPUB]

Cities of Empire [EPUB]
Cities of Empire: The British Colonies and the Creation of the Urban World by Tristram Hunt
2014 | EPUB | 13.76MB

An original history of the most enduring colonial creation, the city, explored through ten portraits of powerful urban centers the British Empire left in its wake

At its peak, the British Empire was an urban civilization of epic proportions, leaving behind a network of cities which now stand as the economic and cultural powerhouses of the twenty-first century. In a series of ten vibrant urban biographies that stretch from the shores of Puritan Boston to Dublin, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Liverpool, and beyond, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt demonstrates that urbanism is in fact the most lasting of Britain’s imperial legacies.

Combining historical scholarship, cultural criticism, and personal reportage, Hunt offers a new history of empire, excavated from architecture and infrastructure, from housing and hospitals, sewers and statues, prisons and palaces. Avoiding the binary verdict of empire as “good” or “bad,” he traces the collaboration of cultures and traditions that produced these influential urban centers, the work of an army of administrators, officers, entrepreneurs, slaves, and renegades. In these ten cities, Hunt shows, we also see the changing faces of British colonial settlement: a haven for religious dissenters, a lucrative slave-trading post, a center of global hegemony.

Lively, authoritative, and eye-opening, Cities of Empire makes a crucial new contribution to the history of colonialism.

Why Homer Matters [EPUB]

Why Homer Matters [EPUB]
Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson
2014 | EPUB | 4.25MB

Adam Nicolson sees the Iliad and the Odyssey as the foundation myths of Greek—and our—consciousness, collapsing the passage of 4,000 years and making the distant past of the Mediterranean world as immediate to us as the events of our own time.

Why Homer Matters is a magical journey of discovery across wide stretches of the past, sewn together by the poems themselves and their metaphors of life and trouble. Homer’s poems occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes “a third space” in the way we relate to the past: not as memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor as the objective accounts of history, but as epic, invented after memory but before history, poetry which aims “to bind the wounds that time inflicts.”

The Homeric poems are among the oldest stories we have, drawing on deep roots in the Eurasian steppes beyond the Black Sea, but emerging at a time around 2000 B.C. when the people who would become the Greeks came south and both clashed and fused with the more sophisticated inhabitants of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The poems, which ask the eternal questions about the individual and the community, honor and service, love and war, tell us how we became who we are.

And We Go On: A Memoir of the Great War [EPUB]

And We Go On: A Memoir of the Great War [EPUB]
And We Go On: A Memoir of the Great War by Will R Bird
2014 | EPUB | 0.6MB

In the autumn of 1915 Will Bird was working on a farm in Saskatchewan when the ghost of his brother Stephen, killed by German mines in France, appeared before him in uniform. Rattled, Bird rushed home to Nova Scotia and enlisted in the army to take his dead brother's place. And We Go On is a remarkable and harrowing memoir of his two years in the trenches of the Western Front, from October 1916 until the Armistice.

When it first appeared in 1930, Bird's memoir was hailed by many veterans as the most authentic account of the war experience, uncompromising in its portrayal of the horror and savagery, while also honouring the bravery, camaraderie, and unexpected spirituality that flourished among the enlisted men. Written in part as a reaction to anti-war novels such as All Quiet on the Western Front, which Bird criticized for portraying the soldier as "a coarse-minded, profane creature, seeking only the solace of loose women or the courage of strong liquor," And We Go On is a nuanced response to the trauma of war, suffused with an interest in the spiritual and the paranormal not found in other war literature. Long out of print, it is a true lost classic that arguably influenced numerous works in the Canadian literary canon, including novels by Robertson Davies and Timothy Findley.

Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade [EPUB]

Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade [EPUB]
Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade by Henri Pirenne
2014 | EPUB | 2.23MB

Nearly a century after it was first published in 1925, Medieval Cities remains one of the most provocative works of medieval history ever written. Here, Henri Pirenne argues that it was not the invasion of the Germanic tribes that destroyed the civilization of antiquity, but rather the closing of Mediterranean trade by Arab conquest in the seventh century. The consequent interruption of long-distance commerce accelerated the decline of the ancient cities of Europe. Pirenne challenges conventional wisdom by attributing the origins of medieval cities to the revival of trade, tracing their growth from the tenth century to the twelfth. He also describes the important role the middle class played in the development of the modern economic system and modern culture.

Featuring a new introduction by Michael McCormick, this Princeton Classics edition of Medieval Cities is essential reading for all students of medieval European history.

The Age of the Democratic Revolution [EPUB]

The Age of the Democratic Revolution [EPUB]
The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800 by R R Palmer
2014 | EPUB | 3.6MB

For the Western world, the period from 1760 to 1800 was the great revolutionary era in which the outlines of the modern democratic state came into being. Here for the first time in one volume is R. R. Palmer's magisterial account of this incendiary age. Palmer argues that the American, French, and Polish revolutions--and the movements for political change in Britain, Ireland, Holland, and elsewhere--were manifestations of similar political ideas, needs, and conflicts. Palmer traces the clash between an older form of society, marked by legalized social rank and hereditary or self-perpetuating elites, and a new form of society that placed a greater value on social mobility and legal equality.

Featuring a new foreword by David Armitage, this Princeton Classics edition of The Age of the Democratic Revolution introduces a new generation of readers to this enduring work of political history.

God'll Cut You Down [EPUB]

God'll Cut You Down [EPUB]
God'll Cut You Down: The Tangled Tale of a White Supremacist, a Black Hustler, a Murder, and How I Lost a Year in Mississippi by John Safran
2014 | EPUB | 6.92MB

An unlikely journalist, a murder case in Mississippi, and a fascinating literary true crime story in the style of Jon Ronson.

A notorious white supremacist named Richard Barrett was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 2010 by a young black man named Vincent McGee. At first the murder seemed a twist on old Deep South race crimes. But then new revelations and complications came to light. Maybe it was a dispute over money rather than race—or, maybe and intriguingly, over sex.

John Safran, a young white Jewish Australian documentarian, had been in Mississippi and interviewed Barrett for a film on race. When he learned of Barrett’s murder, he returned to find out what happened and became caught up in the twists and turns of the case. During his time in Mississippi, Safran got deeper and deeper into this gothic southern world, becoming entwined in the lives of those connected with the murder—white separatist frenemies, black lawyers, police investigators, oddball neighbors, the stunned families, even the killer himself. And the more he talked with them, the less simple the crime—and the people involved—seemed to be. In the end, he discovered how profoundly and indelibly complex the truth about someone’s life—and death—can be.

This is a brilliant, haunting, hilarious, unsettling story about race, money, sex, and power in the modern American South from an outsider’s point of view.

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession [EPUB]

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession [EPUB]
Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession by Craig Childs
2010 | EPUB | 1.18MB

To whom does the past belong? Is the archeologist who discovers a lost tomb a sort of hero--or a villain? If someone steals a relic from a museum and returns it to the ruin it came from, is she a thief? Written in his trademark lyrical style, Craig Childs's riveting new book is a ghost story--an intense, impassioned investigation into the nature of the past and the things we leave behind. We visit lonesome desert canyons and fancy Fifth Avenue art galleries, journey throughout the Americas, Asia, the past and the present. The result is a brilliant book about man and nature, remnants and memory, a dashing tale of crime and detection.

The Stones and the Stars [PDF]

The Stones and the Stars [PDF]
The Stones and the Stars: Building Scotland's Newest Megalith by Duncan Lunan
2012 | PDF | 18.28MB

There are at least 48 identified prehistoric stone circles in Scotland. In truth, very little is known about the people who erected them, and ultimately about what the stone circles were for. Most stone circles are astronomically aligned, which has led to the modern debate about why the alignment was significant. The megaliths certainly represented an enormous co-operative effort, would at the very least have demonstrated power and wealth, and being set away from any dwellings probably served a ceremonial, or perhaps religious, purpose.

Observations at the site of the stone circles, of solar, lunar, and stellar events, have already cast light on some of the questions about the construction and use of ancient megalithic observatories.

In his capacity as manager of the Parks Department Astronomy Project, author Duncan Lunan designed and built the first astronomically aligned stone circle in Britain in over 3,000 years. The Stones and the Stars examines the case for astronomical alignments of stone circles, and charts the development of a fascinating project with a strong scientific and historical background. The work was documented in detail by the artist and photographer Gavin Roberts, and this archive has been added to since - so an appropriate selection of illustrations will bring the project vividly to life.

The Tunguska Mystery [PDF]

The Tunguska Mystery [PDF]
The Tunguska Mystery by Vladimir Rubtsov, Edward Ashpole
2009 | PDF | 4.95MB

The summer of 1908 witnessed the arrival of an unknown space body and an explosion over the Tunguska forest in Central Siberia that could have flattened any major city on Earth. Most people think that the Tunguska event was explained long ago by scientists who study meteorites - that it was either a stony meteorite or the icy core of a comet. But these assumptions are not so tenable as their supporters would like to think. The Tunguska event remains an enigma in its second century of existence as perplexing as it has been throughout the past century. And what Russian scientists have discovered in recent decades is both astounding and reliable, and will cause some eyebrows to be raised.

The Tunguska Mystery is the first truly comprehensive and popular exposition of this century-long enigma written specially for western readers. It is objective and pays attention to both conventional and unconventional theories of the Tunguska space body's origin. Also, this is the only book written in the English language on Tunguska studies in the former Soviet Union and the new independent states that is entirely based on firsthand accounts of serious researchers directly engaged in these studies. The book's language is simple, The Tunguska Mystery is meant not only for specialists, but first of all for any reader who is interested in the fascinating mysteries of the world we live in.

The Universe Before the Big Bang [PDF]

The Universe Before the Big Bang [PDF]
The Universe Before the Big Bang: Cosmology and String Theory by Maurizio Gasperini
2008 | PDF | 2.44MB
  • Accessible introduction to the extraordinary new ideas of string cosmology
  • Careful and scientifically accurate description

Terms such as "expanding Universe", "big bang", and "initial singularity", are nowadays part of our common language. The idea that the Universe we observe today originated from an enormous explosion (big bang) is now well known and widely accepted, at all levels, in modern popular culture. But what happens to the Universe before the big bang? And would it make any sense at all to ask such a question? In fact, recent progress in theoretical physics, and in particular in String Theory, suggests answers to the above questions, providing us with mathematical tools able in principle to reconstruct the history of the Universe even for times before the big bang.

In the emerging cosmological scenario the Universe, at the epoch of the big bang, instead of being a "new born baby" was actually a rather "aged" creature in the middle of its possibly infinitely enduring evolution. The aim of this book is to convey this picture in non-technical language accessible also to non-specialists. The author, himself a leading cosmologist, draws attention to ongoing and future observations that might reveal relics of an era before the big bang.

Weird Astronomy [PDF]

Weird Astronomy [PDF]
Weird Astronomy: Tales of Unusual, Bizarre, and Other Hard to Explain Observations by David A J Seargent
2011 | PDF | 94.41MB
  • Includes many fascinating and amusing astronomical observations throughout the ages that are not found in usual popular astronomy books
  • Handles the subject in a non-technical way, making it accessible to everyone
  • Looks at unusual and sometimes extraordinary scientific events and ideas without promoting gullibility or excessive scepticism

You go out for a night’s observing and look up at the sky. There are all the usual suspects—a splattering of stars, the Moon, Venus, maybe Mercury and Mars. Perhaps you can identify some of the constellations. If you are using binoculars or a small telescope, you can see many wonders not revealed to the naked eye but still well known to telescope users for centuries. But what if you look up and see something completely new, something unexplainable. Do your eyes deceive you? Are you really seeing what you think you are seeing? What should you do? In this fascinating account of the many oddball things people – from novice astronomers to certified experts – have observed over the years, you will be introduced to a number of unusual – and sometimes still unexplainable – phenomena occurring in our usually familiar and reassuring skies. What exactly did they see? What discoveries followed these unusual sightings? What remains unexplained?

In addition to the accounts, you will find scattered throughout the book a number of suggested astronomy projects that you can do yourself. The projects range from very basic to a bit more challenging, but all are fun and all are very instructive about unusual sightings. Be sure to try them!

The Cosmic Microwave Background [PDF]

The Cosmic Microwave Background [PDF]
The Cosmic Microwave Background: How It Changed Our Understanding of the Universe by Rhodri Evans
2015 | PDF | 6.12MB
  • Cosmology explained by an enthusiastic and experienced science communicator
  • Combines the latest science results with the history of cosmology since the early 20th century
  • Explains the observational results obtained with both ground based and space based instruments

Rhodri Evans tells the story of what we know about the universe, from Jacobus Kapteyn’s Island universe at the turn of the 20th Century, and the discovery by Hubble that the nebulae were external to our own galaxy, through Gamow’s early work on the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and its subsequent discovery by Penzias and Wilson, to modern day satellite-lead CMB research. Research results from the ground-based experiments DASI, BOOMERANG, and satellite missions COBE, WMAP and Planck are explained and interpreted to show how our current picture of the universe was arrived at, and the author looks at the future of CMB research and what we still need to learn.

This account is enlivened by Dr Rhodri Evans' personal connections to the characters and places in the story.

Universe Unveiled: The Cosmos in My Bubble Bath [PDF]

Universe Unveiled: The Cosmos in My Bubble Bath [PDF]
Universe Unveiled: The Cosmos in My Bubble Bath by C V Vishveshwara
2014 | PDF | 3.37MB
  • Most enjoyable popular level introduction to astronomy and cosmology - reads like a novel
  • Written as a wonderful fantasy in which the reader meets and learns from the historical heroes of ancient and modern astronomy and cosmology
  • Blends accurate science with philosophy, drama, humour and fantasy to create an exciting cosmic journey
  • By the author of the successful popular science book on black holes "Einstein's Enigma - Or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath", but written on a much more basic level
The bubbles were swirling all around me, massaging my body. As I luxuriated in this fantastic bath, I gasped realizing that those bubbles carried with them miniature galaxies bringing the entire Cosmos into my bathtub...

Alfie is back. And so are George and other characters from the author’s previous book Einstein’s Enigma or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath. While the present book, Universe Unveiled - The Cosmos in My Bubble Bath, is completely independent, its storyline can be considered a sequel to the previous one. The scientific content spanning ancient world models to the most recent mysteries of cosmology is presented in an entirely nontechnical and descriptive style through the discussions between Alfie, the enlightened learner, and George, professor of astrophysics. Fantasies, based on these discussions that cover the scientific facts, are created by the magical bubble baths taken by Alfie.

Universe Unveiled blends accurate science with philosophy, drama, humour, and fantasy to create an exciting cosmic journey that reads like a novel and educates as it entertains.

Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment [EPUB]

Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment [EPUB]
Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment by Joseph Mangano
2012 | EPUB | 15.6MB

Will Americans once again play nuclear roulette?

Just one year after the Fukushima meltdown, all 54 reactors in Japan have been closed, and may never be restarted. Germany recently closed several reactors, and will shutter them all within a decade. Italy revoked its pledge to build new reactors, keeping that nation nuclear-free. All these decisions are based on the understanding that reactors are extremely dangerous and expensive.

In the U.S., the remnants of the once-overwhelmingly powerful nuclear lobby are making their last stand for "clean" nuclear energy. The sixty-year-old vision of power "too cheap to meter" (words originally uttered by a banker promoting the industry) is back. While other countries end their reliance on nuclear energy, Americans contemplate its revival, even as existing reactors, which produce a fifth of U.S. electricity, pass retirement age and are corroding.

In Mad Science, Joseph Mangano strips away the near-smothering layers of distortions and outright lies that permeate the massive propaganda campaigns on behalf of nuclear energy. He explores the history of the industry, with its origins in the Manhattan Project, through its heightening promotion during the Cold War and its entwinement with nuclear weapons.

Mad Science includes an account of nuclear accidents and meltdowns and their consequences, from Chernobyl to Santa Susana and beyond; as well as a point-by-point refutation of pro-nuke arguments. Atomic energy is unsafe – it deals with staggeringly poisonous substances at every stage of its creation – un-economical in the extreme and impractical.

The Anatomy of Violence [Audiobook]

The Anatomy of Violence [Audiobook]
The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime [Audiobook] by Adrian Raine, read by Jonathan Cowley
2013 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 16 hrs 23 mins | 450.55MB

Provocative and timely: A pioneering neurocriminologist introduces the latest biological research into the causes of - and potential cures for - criminal behavior.

A leading criminologist who specializes in the neuroscience behind criminal behavior, Adrian Raine introduces a wide range of new scientific research into the origins and nature of violence and criminal behavior. He explains how impairments to areas of the brain that control our ability to experience fear, make decisions, and feel empathy can make us more likely to engage in criminal behavior. He applies this new understanding of the criminal mind to some of the most well-known criminals in history. And he clearly delineates the pressing considerations this research demands: What are its implications for our criminal justice system? Should we condemn and punish individuals who have little no control over their behavior? Should we act preemptively with people who exhibit strong biological predispositions to becoming dangerous criminals? These are among the thorny issues we can no longer ignore as our understanding of criminal behavior grows.

The Myth of Mirror Neurons [Audiobook]

The Myth of Mirror Neurons [Audiobook]
The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition [Audiobook] by Gregory Hickok, read by Eric Martin
2014 | MP3 VBR ~ 100 kbps + EPUB | 10 hrs 47 mins | 575.78MB

An essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology.

In 1992, a group of neuroscientists from Parma, Italy, reported a new class of brain cells discovered in the motor cortex of the macaque monkey. These cells, later dubbed mirror neurons, responded equally well during the monkey’s own motor actions, such as grabbing an object, and while the monkey watched someone else perform similar motor actions. Researchers speculated that the neurons allowed the monkey to understand others by simulating their actions in its own brain.

Mirror neurons soon jumped species and took human neuroscience and psychology by storm. In the late 1990s theorists showed how the cells provided an elegantly simple new way to explain the evolution of language, the development of human empathy, and the neural foundation of autism. In the years that followed, a stream of scientific studies implicated mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning.

In The Myth of Mirror Neurons, neuroscientist Gregory Hickok reexamines the mirror neuron story and finds that it is built on a tenuous foundation—a pair of codependent assumptions about mirror neuron activity and human understanding. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts. He then explores alternative explanations of mirror neuron function while illuminating crucial questions about human cognition and brain function: Why do humans imitate so prodigiously? How different are the left and right hemispheres of the brain? Why do we have two visual systems? Do we need to be able to talk to understand speech? What’s going wrong in autism? Can humans read minds?

The Myth of Mirror Neurons not only delivers an instructive tale about the course of scientific progress—from discovery to theory to revision—but also provides deep insights into the organization and function of the human brain and the nature of communication and cognition.